You are here because you love to travel. And you are here because you are taking responsibility for the choice you made to travel. Good for you! We going to share with you our best ways to make money while traveling.
Responsibility? Yes! Because traveling costs money. Unless you’ve reached that influencer/celebrity level (which also requires tons of work) chances are you yourself have to open your wallet to finance your travels. Which is no biggie, you’re investing in experiences that will change you forever. We can’t put a price to that now, can we?
Price or no price. It’s time to figure out methods that will help you make some extra cash whilst traveling the world so you can continue pursuing the life you’ve always dreamed of. Liam and I have been traveling and working simultaneously for over 2 years now and we’ve learned so much on what to do and how to do it (and what not to do and how not to do it).
In this how-to-guide, we’ll be revealing the most successful methods we taken upon during our travels. But know, there is no ultimate, one-way-to-go piece of advice. These methods have worked for us and we invite you to utilize them in your own authentic way. But listening to what the moment has to offer and reacting to the present situation in the most effective way is what will make it or break it.
How to that? Just read this post and you’ll get the idea 🙂
If you are looking for a list of jobs you can do, this is not going to be your post. This post is about the action plan before getting that new side gig and will be more focused on how you make money while traveling. About why you should be aware of X-Y-Z; why an open mindset is going to take you everywhere; about where you should search and who you should speak to. And it’s about creating a job yourself you are able to ‘sell’ everywhere you go.
That being said, if you’re totally clueless about how on earth you are going to find work you came to the right place. We know how stressful an unstable financial situation can be whilst travel, so we’ve been researching and working and found ways that help. The good news is, everyone who puts in the energy can and will find some work that will result in cold hard cash or the equivalent of travel expenses (more on this later).
On a side note, please do realize that ‘taking responsibility’ also means you truly understand that money doesn’t just grow on coconut trees. Wherever you are, work will be work. It can be fun and maybe not feel like work, but it’s work regardless.
What are the risks of working abroad?
Huh? Risks? Yes! When you decide you want to do make money while traveling, make sure you are FULLY AWARE of the risks you are taking. If you are traveling on a tourist visa, which is most likely the case, you are probably not allowed to legally work in that country. Yes, there are exceptions and yes there are places that turn a blind eye. But yes, there are also countries that detain you for breaking the law.
So, what can you do? Well, there are many ways you can yoga yourself through the rules and regulations.
Sometimes all you need to do is play with the ‘description’ you are not working but you are helping out or advising a friend and – very important – there’s no paperwork involved. Of course, there is a risk in this as well (what if they don’t keep their side of the bargain?).
Listen to your gut feeling, trust your intuition!
So, all we can say, be cautious, test the waters, listen to your gut and be honest with yourself and your new ‘friend’. Building trust is key here, show that he/she can trust you and make sure the deal is crystal clear. I.e. ‘I will repaint the walls of 3 rooms for a week accommodation.’
These miniature jobs are supposed to be miniature. So, a couple of days, maybe a week or two max. If for whatever reason you feel super comfortable and want to stay longer (a few months, year) look into the official paperwork for your own sanity and safety!
We have to say, these kind of side jobs are normally pretty awesome. You get to know people really well and you can easily become friends for life. They will provide you with the exclusive tips for the local area and you might even get invited to a family dinner. Culturesubmersion101!
Besides rephrasing we also recommend you to look at the smaller joints. Don’t knock on Hilton’s door, the local hostel is a more realistic spot to talk buddy-business.
You might also like: How to save money on accommodation like a pro!
Have an open mindset
Yes yes, we realize that if you already made the step to travel the world you probably already have a pretty open-mindset. However, we just have to mention it! Because the more open you are towards the possibilities that come across your path, the more opportunities will arise.
With an open mindset, you’ll be more likely to spot those opportunities and take advantage of them.
The way you approach things, mindful and open or blunt and skeptic is going to have an effect on the outcome. So, in that sense, the power is yours. Our apologies if this sounds still a bit vague, bear with us. It will become clearer when you continue reading, promised!
If you follow the methods we’ve used and you find yourself a job (how awesome!), do realize: you’ll be working in a foreign environment. >> Meaning things go differently than back home << Every place has their own unwritten set of rules and values. You’re the guest and you better act like one, adjust and adapt. Be open and respectful.
This all might sound a bit harsh, this is why you’ll love it: you get to know a culture on a whole different level than you would by just being a tourist. It will make your experience first-handed how certain aspects of a culture are embedded in everyday life and – whether you like it or not – you will reflect on your findings upon your own life. Helllooooo self-growth!
Make a (realistic) planning & set a goal
We love to travel on the fly and just see what we come across, getting lost is the only true way of finding yourself, anyone?
However, when it comes to the decision to make some money we highly recommend you to be as clear as possible and set some terms for yourself. You don’t want to be suck into months or years of some new job in an unknown place (unless it’s your dream job in your dream destination, that’s totally awesome of course!).
And you also don’t want to be strolling around without any clear intention. This drains the wallet like nothing else in my opinion.
If your main purpose is traveling – and I believe it is, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this – you know what you need/want. When you set your goal, be realistic, don’t all of a sudden think you’ll be able to earn 5 times as much you did back home, however, investing just 3% of your energy. You know, that ain’t gonna work.
Setting a goal will help you determine how much time and energy you are going to invest in your mini-side-job. A ‘goal’ of earning $500 in two weeks will require more efficiency than earning it in three weeks. This is all about being practical.
How to set a realistic goal? Talk with expats (as you’ll read later they are going to be your number 1 resource). Know what you are worth (and know what you need) when negotiating with your new temporary boss.
And don’t forget to add me-time on that planning. It can be budget friendly with one of these free activities you can do anywhere!
Know your skill set
If you ask me, this is by far the coolest and most creative part. The secret here: this can be whatever you want it to be!
You are traveling the world because you want to and love to. In an ideal world, what would you want and love to do to earn some extra money? What do you consider yourself to be really good at? Utilize this!
Be aware of what you can offer so you can clearly communicate this with people you are talking to. Also, think of who would be interested in your skills (a business or an individual?) so you target them specifically.
Think out of the box and write all your ideas down. Really, ALL of them! Just having one isn’t really spreading your options, now is it? For fun, you can also ask a friend where he/she thinks your talents lie.
Being open towards your new environment and spot where you can add value is going to be the main factor.
I’m going to write down a couple of examples for you to see our formula here.
- Your skill: photography. Contact Airbnb listings with bad pictures and offer to provide quality photos of their rental in exchange for free accommodation.
- Your skill: good with children. Ask around if any expats or locals are looking for a babysitter in return for some cash.
- Offer yourself as a substitute teacher or private tutor. Languages, sport, and arts are very popular subjects.
- Handyman/ DIY. In return for free accommodation, you will spruce up hostels in need of maintenance.
- Professional party person. Promote events for bars or bartend as a side job.
- Find a few local bars or entertainment centers where you can do a gig in exchange for you name it…
- Social media. Contact businesses and offer them promotion on your social media platform in exchange for you being able to ‘use’ their business for free.
Every skill can have multiple targets and so forth. This is also where having an open mind needs implementing. Use your imagination and think of ways that could work and of ways that other people don’t think of.
Remember, if you are getting a good deal out of it, so should the other person. Finding the balance between realistic and innovative is going to make the difference. There is no need to nail down one specific idea, surf the waters that are provided to you.
You can’t blame a fella for trying, now can you?
You are a graphic designer and you see that the menu of a restaurant could be spruced up in say return for five meals free of cost for you and your friend? Good deal, right? And if the owner is not interested, it’s no biggie. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. You approach 10 jobs and get 2, any win is better than none.
If your goal is to make money while traveling, you should grasp all those opportunities that come along the way. Succes guaranteed!
Get in touch with the local expats
This is going to be one of the most important things to do if you want success in finding a paying job quickly and one that’s trustworthy. For those who don’t know what an expat is, an expat is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than their native country. So basically, other ‘foreigners’ that don’t necessarily travel but live in the country/city you are visiting.
Why get in touch with expats? The answer is very logical: they know the city/country as well as a local does and have built up relationships with people (locals and other expats) and businesses in the city. They know – like no other – how to make money while traveling.
Expats are basically the experts of what you want to do in their city. Definitely if you in a country where you don’t speak the language, expats know all the tips and tricks on how to communicate and can point you towards the local establishments that do speak English.
There is an extremely high probability that they have the resources you are looking for. Talk to them and have a meaningful conversation. Why did they move to this place? What kind of job are they doing? What are their favorite places to go to? And of course, feel free to share with them that you are looking for a short-term/long-term job and are willing to do X-Y-Z.
If they are helpful – which is 99% the case (because they have been in exactly the same spot as you’ve been) – they will hook you up with either a contact that can help you out, a group where you can ask, a café that has open vacancies for travelers etc. etc.
Be a pro and stay respectful and show genuine interest. Most expat communities are pretty small, they all know each other. You want to be humble, and welcomed into the community > so leave a good impression.
So, where to find the expats? Yes sure, Google and Facebook Groups/Pages can be helpful here but how reliable will the groups be you come across? Mwah, not sure. There are many factors that can throw a wrench in the works here. It is very difficult to determine whether that online page the go-to communication platform is for expats in the city. You don’t know how active and accurate it is. Whether people respond etc.
A much more fun and creative way to find expats is to go on a foreigner treasure hunt. In real life. Go to the businesses owned by expats, this can be a café, a lunchroom or hostel. Spot the other non-local, introduce yourself and get social.
After the conversation has been rolling you’ll want to ask your new friend this
- Where do expats hang out? (Get the locations)
- What jobs are typically done by other expats in this city? Are there any popular one-day gigs? (Like modeling, promotion gigs etc.) If you’re interested in quick-cash.
- Which platform is used to communicate amongst expats? (This might be surprising) Is this also the platform where they post job vacancies? Feel free to ask for referrals for work-related groups.
- Can you get their contact if you any more questions or would like to hang out?
- Does he/she know anyone who might be interested in your services? Tell him/her/them what you can offer.
- Can he/she/they give you an estimation of what is considered a normal salary for certain jobs?
Totally utilize any search engine (Google, TripAdvisor) for finding a café owned or co-owned by a foreigner. Scroll through the reviews and you should be able to find out whether that’s the place you should be heading off to or not.
The smaller coffee places are the best in our opinion to start off with. (Just think about it, would you rather ask advice from someone who is enjoying a coffee in the morning or someone having his 3rd beer whilst watching his favorite team play?)
Negotiate all the terms
This is something I feel like most of us have forgotten to do. Back in the days when money didn’t exist people were already partaking in trade and exchange of services. What we are trying to say is that working does not always have to equal a financial compensation. It can equal any kind of compensation you want it to equal.
Totally depending on the job opportunity that has been presented to you, I highly recommend negotiating the terms. All the terms. Who knows what they can offer you!
Huh? What do we mean? We mean when talking business don’t only talk about the money and schedule aspect of the job. If they aren’t able to pay as much as you’d like there are still ways to get an appropriate reward for your efforts.
Maybe they can offer you accommodation or some meals? Maybe they have a friend that can give you a private tour instead of you having to buy the expensive tourist ticket? Or they can give you a lift with their truck to your next destination?
These would be expenses you would have to make otherwise and help you save (to reach that goal faster). Be open minded!
Weigh out the pros and cons and be – of course respectfully – straightforward with your demands and wishes.
If you need some mindset inspiration, check out our positive affirmations for creative entrepreneurs! They can guide towards the mindset you need to make money while traveling.
Capture & Reflect
If you’ve managed to get a job that you like and enjoyed (so happy for you!), we strongly advise you to try to find ways to capture it, to assemble all the different things you’ve done. Every job would naturally require a different approach for this.
Why even do this in the first place? This will make the search for a (similar) job in the next place easier as you’ll be able to show examples or your work. People will know what to expect when they decide to collab with you and people will get a taste for how you make money while traveling. This is gold. Imagine being able to travel & working in ways you want to!
For ‘spruce’ jobs (painting, redesigning a menu, Airbnb Photography) where you provided your services to upgrade a certain aspect of a business, simply showcase before and after pictures. If you babysat, friendly ask them if they are willing to write a small testimonial or review (and make a selfie with the kid).
Be creative. Think in ways that are going to help you get your next project in sooner and smoother, and think in ways that will provide you an epic collection of your crazy adventures.
We have been extremely open-minded towards the opportunities we’ve gotten and
we’re extremely grateful for the awesome jobs we’ve done on the way.
Every step on the journey is a new one, full of potential, full of adventure, full of life.
Did you enjoy this post? Please share it with like-minded travelers,
we’re a tribe and should stick together & help each other out!
Thanks a lot for dropping by, say hi below and we’ll say hi back!
Safe and epic travels,
Liam & Loura